Six Vancouver Canucks will be competing in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, and here’s what to expect.
Five of the six Vancouver Canucks participating in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey could take on big roles with their respective teams. But yet, they are in completely different positions.
The most prominent names are Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Loui Eriksson. That Swedish trio is the biggest reason for Canucks fans to be excited for the 2016-17 season, and their pre-tournament games with Sweden just made that excitement grow. The three are building Sweden’s top line and top power-play unit and will be relied on to lead their country to a gold medal.
For Swiss defenseman Luca Sbisa and Danish forward Jannik Hansen, things aren’t looking quite as good. The duo is suiting up for Team Europe — the team that had the worst possible start into their pre-tournament series and the team nobody seems to care about. Not even us Europeans. Sbisa and Hansen are projected to play on the bottom lines, but those exact lines could become extremely important in match-ups against superior teams.
So, where can Team Sweden and Team Europe go in the tournament, and how well will the Vancouver Canucks do in the process?
Henrik Sedin — Team Sweden
In my Sweden team preview, I predicted the team to finish third overall in the tournament, but they could very well make the final. Let’s just assume that will happen, resulting in seven games — three in the preliminary round, one in the semi finals, and a three-game final series.
Playing on a line with his twin brother and Eriksson, Henrik should have a great tournament. He played the majority of games in 2016-17 injured, but says he’s fully healthy again. The playmaker on the top line and top power-play unit, Henrik will total seven assists and nine points.
Projection: 7 GP, 2 G, 7 A, 9 P
Daniel Sedin — Team Sweden
Henrik’s brother Daniel should have a strong tournament as well, but he could be “forced” into more of a playmaking role as well. The twins do their magic to set up Eriksson, who will then put the puck in the net — simple, right? Oh, and Daniel will obviously score three goals himself.
Projection: 7 GP, 3 G, 5 A, 8 P
Loui Eriksson — Team Sweden
The pre-tournament games suggest that the World Cup of Hockey could see several high-scoring games. So, the twins and Eriksson combining for 11 goals in seven games seems very well possible. Eriksson will fall just one goal short of tallying one per game. But six is definitely good enough.
Projection: 7 GP, 6 G, 2 A, 8 P
Jacob Markstrom — Team Sweden
With all the talk about Eriksson and the Sedins, it is easy to forget about Jacob Markstrom. The goalie will back up New York Rangers star Henrik Lundqvist and likely won’t see too much ice time. It would make sense to give Lundqvist some rest in an intense tournament like this, but it’s kind of like the playoffs — if you want to win, you play your starter every game.
Still, if Sweden wins the first two games, securing a spot in the semi finals, Markstrom could start in Game 3 against North America. My prediction for that game was a 2-1 loss, which would be unfortunate for Markstrom, but it’s a possible scenario. After that, Lundqvist comes back in for the rest of the tournament.
Projection: 1 GP, 2 GA, .920 SV%
Luca Sbisa — Team Europe
Sbisa on a pair with German Christian Ehrhoff can’t be good, right? Well, that’s what Team Europe might have to rely on. I fully expect Europe to be kicked out in the preliminary round, and Sbisa won’t be a factor offensively.
Projection: 3GP, 0G, 1A, 1P
Jannik Hansen — Team Europe
That leaves us with Hansen, a 22-goal scorer for the Canucks last season. With Team Europe, Hansen could be forced back into a shutdown role. His speed and two-way ability are assets that could see him getting many tough match-ups. Hansen might chip in a goal, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he went scoreless in just three games.
Projection: 3GP, 1G, 0A, 1P